Organizational Culture

An Ally or Enemy of Change?

November 14, 2019 | By Risktal Thought Leadership

“But this is the way we do things over here!”

If you were a change agent to an organization whether as a consultant or an employee; almost always you will be faced with change’s nemesis – Resistance. One very common form of resistance is this oldie but a goody statement “But this the way we do things over here!”

This statement is generally used by organizational dinosaurs who have spent most of their careers (if you can call it that) in one organization without exposure to any other practices.

These individuals over their tenure have created  and shaped their comfort zone; where any deviations from these norms form threats to their existence. This comfort zone is synonymous with Organizational Culture.

Reality Check:        ” The way you do things over here, does not mean you are doing things the right way!”  

So what makes change so difficult?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the failure of change initiatives, some of which are:

  • One-way loyalty of business Owners/Boards  to undeserving and/or unqualified personnel simply because they have been with them for a period of time. The sad part is that those same revered individuals would jump ship in the unlikely event of them receiving few pennies more at any other organization;
  • Resistance to change out of fear of shaking the comfort zones and making the dinosaur positions redundant;
  • Over-trusting Owners/Boards with ears for gossip generally from the business dinosaurs;
  • Apprehension by Owners/Boards of the change agents and low appetite for change;
  • Lack of empowerment to the change agents;
  • Occasional abuse of powers by the change agents for personal benefits;
  • Conflicts of interest!;
  •  & the list goes on and on…

In a recent publication by the Institute of Internal Auditors regarding Risk Management in 2020 – “ONRISK 2020″  the following two findings echo our views about the Boards/Owners over-trust in the current organization:

  • Boards are overconfident. Boards consistently view the organization’s capability to manage risks higher than
    executive management, evidence of a critical misalignment between what executive management believes and
    what is communicated to the board.
  • Boards generally perceive higher levels of maturity in risk management practices. Board members’
    perceptions of risk knowledge and capability place them ahead of executive management and CAEs relative
    to risk maturity, therefore making them more likely to believe those risks are better managed.

So is there a solution?

  • Identify that there is a need to change;
  • Set the tone right at the top;
  • Carefully select the change agent;
  • Empower the change agent;
  • Hold him/her accountable;
  • Govern the results proactively;
  • Act swiftly;
  • Have clear and transparent communication channels.


At Risktal, driven by our value system, we are rigorous change agents, and only work with business owners who have identified the need for change in their organizations, who embrace the change and empower the change agents.

We have encountered numerous examples of “supposed to be” change agents who have chosen the easy way of joining the dinosaur culture, enjoy the perks of the job, prolong their tenure irrespective of the outcome on the organization.  In this part of the world the examples are many of Executives leaving organizations with no impact on the latter’s performance or leaving them in worse shape that before, then off to the next enterprise.

This vicious cycle require maturity and competence of the Owners/Boards to effectively drive change… It all cascades from the TOP!